Skip and a hop from Frankfurt
May 21, 2018 3:27 PM   Subscribe

I'll be spending a week in Frankfurt, Germany, for work in mid-July. (Visiting from U.S.) I want to extend my trip 2-3 days into an interesting European city. What is an easy and somewhat unusual excursion from Frankfurt--my interests include museums, castles, music festivals (classical, jazz, rock), and nature--but I'll be traveling solo, so I prefer urban getaways over romantic ones. I have visited Europe a bunch, so major destinations like Paris, Berlin, Florence, or Barcelona already covered; but I don't have experience with European trains or cheap airfare like Ryan Air and am willing to explore. is there a good excursion close to Frankfurt? I can return home from any major city.
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Travel & Transportation around Germany (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Munich/Munchen is good. Got a great museum, world's best castle nearby, Andechs monastery/brewery nearby too.
posted by w0mbat at 3:52 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

I loved Heidelberg and Köln (Cologne).
posted by angiep at 4:14 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Freiburg im Breisgau is a beautiful city on the edge of the Black Forest, a (relatively) short journey away on the fast ICE train. It has beautiful old buildings, tons of culture, and nature a few minutes on foot from the centre of town. There is also an annual music festival (site in German; English Wikipedia page here) that starts in mid-July. I have very fond memories of studying in Freiburg.

A bit further away from Frankfurt in the opposite direction is Hamburg, which is a stunning city with lots of food, shopping and cultural institutions.
posted by sueinnyc at 4:21 PM on May 21, 2018

posted by humboldt32 at 4:23 PM on May 21, 2018

I did this very thing and ended up in Vienna! I had a wonderful time and there’s no shortage of things to do.
posted by mochapickle at 4:24 PM on May 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Mainz has the excellent Gutenberg museum, and is worth a day walkabout.
posted by carter at 4:24 PM on May 21, 2018

Mainz also has the amazing Chagall windows at St. Stephan. The cathedral is lovely too.
posted by FencingGal at 5:11 PM on May 21, 2018

Jealous! I used to live near there and its definitely one of the best jumping-off locations to explore Europe, not to mention a great city. If you have any interest in staying local, here's some daytrip options within an hour or so of Frankfurt:
- Rüdesheim, a somewhat touristy but still very charming town at the start of the Rhine valley. The entire valley is gorgeous and has several smaller castles you can visit. It is easier to visit by car, but there is a train from Frankfurt to Rüdesheim, then several rail/boat options from there to go further up the valley.
- Großer Feldberg, a summit in the Taunus mountains with some very nice hiking trails nearby. I've only driven there but I think there's bus service as well.
- Mainz, mentioned previously. On a commuter rail line, easy train ride from Frankfurt.

If you want to go further afield, train and plane service is pretty straightforward. For long-distance trains, it's pretty easy to look up schedules and buy tickets at Deutsche Bahn's main site For flights, just FYI most low-cost carriers (Easyjet, Ryanair, etc) fly out of Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN - a small regional airport about two hours' drive west of Frankfurt), *not* Frankfurt Airport (FRA - the big international airport just outside the city). I always stuck with Lufthansa for short intra-Europe flights for that reason - the fare savings were never enough to make me drive two hours out of my way.
posted by photo guy at 5:12 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fly into Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel in the Azores. The whole island is beautiful! You can ferry to other islands, but you can also fill a week on just SM. Azores Airlines has direct flights but they don’t have a great on time record. TAP has connections, as does RyanAir. With any budget airline, include luggage costs when comparing prices.
posted by soelo at 6:37 PM on May 21, 2018

If you’re a nerd’s nerd, you can get to Göttingen and back from Frankfurt in a day. The town is beautiful anyway, but think who you can visit—Carl Friedrich Gauss, David Hilbert, and a whole bunch of other worthies. If you’ve no experience of European train travel, this would be a good first try.
posted by Logophiliac at 8:34 PM on May 21, 2018

A bit further away, but if you can get to Gdansk (Lufthansa or LOT direct flights from FRA), that's lovely forests and seaside, decent museums (very good World War II one plus good maritime and immigration museums in Gdynia) and the actualfax biggest castle in the world in Malbork. The giant Open'er music festival is July 4 to 7 this year, but in the second half of July there's a jazz festival and a film festival. If your time frame is closer to the end of July, the Shakespeare festival starts on the 27th and St Dominic's Fair (in its 758th year) a day later.

Wizzair also flies from FRA to Budapest, which is fascinating but may be quite hot in mid-July - Gdansk is usually cooler due to the seaside location.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:46 AM on May 22, 2018

museums, castles, music festivals (classical, jazz, rock), and nature

Istanbul! It's not super-far, cheap on the ground, absolutely delicious, and ticks all your boxes (I see your castle and raise you an Ottoman palace). Check your dates on Biletix for events/music. For nature, take a ferry to the Prince Islands for some lovely seaside dining and exploration.

It will be warm (though often breezy given its seaside location), and there are eight flights a day from Frankfurt on Pegasus (low-cost), Lufthansa and Turkish (full service).

Further afield and probably worth more like 3-4 days is Tbilisi. Do Envoy's tours. Georgia is mind-blowing (and even cheaper than Turkey).
posted by mdonley at 3:22 AM on May 22, 2018

A ferry down the Rhine from Mainz is a lovely way to spend a day (so many castles!) and cologne is quite interesting too. Easier than flying somewhere, but definitely worth doing. Stick a trip to heidelburg on the beginning, and that sounds like a great three days to me.
posted by kjs4 at 7:27 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

One option would be to stay in Frankfurt, and visit several smaller cities in the immediate area.
There was another Ask a few months ago which was looking for day trips from Frankfurt, which may help in that case. Either a day cruise up the Rhine valley, or even just simply getting the RE/RB (non-high speed train) to Koblenz is well worth it, if you like castles. You can even probably go up one side of the Rhine and come back the other in the train, if you are careful.

Otherwise, as everyone has already mentioned, it's pretty easy to get most places in Europe from Frankfurt. As far as I know, Ryanair does now have some flights from FRA (the "proper" airport") but most still leave from Hahn, which is generally not worth the effort, particularly for 2-3 days.)

Munich is definitely worth a visit, as is Dresden. I was also recently in Bruges (with sidetrip to Ghent) which is only about 4.5 hours on the train from Frankfurt.
posted by scorbet at 7:31 AM on May 22, 2018

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